IFSW supports the call from the Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists (PUSWP) to end Administrative Detention which includes arrest and imprisonment without trial of Palestinians by the Israeli authorities. IFSW is particularly concerned that Palestinian social workers who have been conducting their work peacefully and professionally have been detained in such a manner. Two social workers under detention are now on the 17th day of their hunger strike and international action is needed to bring an end to unjust administrative detention and to free the imprisoned social workers. The following letter was written by the IFSW Palestinian member alerting the global social work community to this problem:
“The Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists (PUSWP) are extremely concerned that the Israel authority are using Administrative Detention are detaining our social work colleagues, against basic humanitarian principles and international agreements. Administrative Detention has affected thousands of Palestinians, including our own social work members. There are currently several of our own colleagues undergoing this detention who have also taken the decision to go on hunger strike in order to convince the Israeli occupiers to end their Administrative Detention. These include our Social Work Union administrative member in Bethlehem, Nidal Abu Aker, who has been an administrative detainee for a year and a half. Along with him there is Gassan Zawhra, a social work student in Al Quds Open University. Both are participating in a hunger strike for 17 days with other colleagues who have been in Israeli detention. All were working peacefully as social workers supporting families and communities, people with disabilities and others at the time of their arrest.
Administrative Detention was initially used by the British government in Palestine in 1945 and has continued to be used by the Israeli authorities who have detained 100,000 people since 1967. Administrative Detention is against the Geneva Convention and the special agreement for civilian and political rights. Administrative Detention is imprisonment following a military order leading to the arrest of individuals without being accused of any particular crime, based on the use of secret intelligence and those subject to it are unable to present any defence as no charges have been made in open court. There has been – and continues to be – an international campaign to cancel the use of Administrative Detention.
The PUSWP requests the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and all it is members to campaign to save the lives of our detained colleagues from the likely possibility of death following this hunger strike and to oppose the use by Israel of collective punishment meted out on Palestinians to break their will.
Our colleagues today are fighting with their empty stomachs for their dignity and human rights!
We should not stand aside and allow this to happen, and instead we should stand together to protect them and campaign for their release as soon as possible.
Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists (PUSWP)”